Defend Us Thy Humble Servants

I’ve been thinking about spiritual warfare these days. I’ve experienced waves of doubt and discouragement right before important ministry activities, and the uncanny timing of these thoughts shows they are not coincidental. Also, several friends are going through very tough circumstances in health, family, job, or finances. While I’m not the type that blames the devil for every hardship, I do know that he loves to exploit our weaknesses, whether or not he had a hand bringing them about.

In light of this, I’ve been reminded of this prayer that we often recited in church when I was growing up:

O God, who art the author of peace and lover of concord, in knowledge of whom standeth our eternal life, whose service is perfect freedom; Defend us thy humble servants in all assaults of our enemies; that we, surely trusting in thy defense, may not fear the power of any adversaries, through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
1928 Book of Common Prayer

I love the phrase “whose service is perfect freedom” – how typical of God’s wonderful upside-down logic that true freedom is not found in being my own boss, but in being a humble servant of God! And as a servant, I look to my master to defend me from enemy assault. As Psalm 123 (NIV) says:

I lift up my eyes to you,
    to you whose throne is in heaven.
As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master,
    as the eyes of a maid look to the hand of her mistress,
    so our eyes look to the LORD our God,
    till he shows us his mercy.
Have mercy on us, O LORD, have mercy on us,
    for we have endured much contempt.
We have endured much ridicule from the proud,
    much contempt from the arrogant.

He is my master; I can have absolute confidence that He will defend me. When I have that kind of sure trust in His might, I need not fear any adversaries, because their power is nothing compared to the might of my Lord and Master Jesus Christ.

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